While we all make mistakes, a mistake resulting in a criminal conviction can have a long-term impact on your life. Perhaps the best way for someone to move beyond a conviction is by applying for an expungement.
Expungement has often been difficult to secure in North Carolina. A new law implemented last December may now make it accessible to more than 2 million people in the state.
What is expungement?
Expungement is the removal of someone's criminal record. Expunction is another term that is synonymous with expungement.
Expungement prevents others, including employers, landlords and education officials from seeing the conviction. Outside of rare exceptions, an individual who receives an expungement can deny the conviction without any perjury or false statement implications.
Understanding North Carolina's expungement laws
The biggest change to expungement law is that the time period for eligibility has been significantly reduced:
- A first-time nonviolent crime can be expunged after 10 years (down from 15 years).
- A nonviolent misdemeanor can be expunged after five years (down from 15 years).
- There is no longer a limit on the number of convictions that courts may expunge.
Additionally, law enforcement officials and prosecutors will now have digital access to expunged records.
Expungement laws in North Carolina are revised frequently. If you previously sought an expungement and were not eligible, that no longer may be the case. It can be a good idea to contact an attorney who will analyze your situation to determine if expungement is an option for you.